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6 Feb 2017

Madeleine Flori, Ileia (The Netherlands)

Tanzania: How private investors restrict women's access to land & compromise livelihoods for pastoralist communities

"Interview: Pastoralist women have the capacity to lead"

Paine Eulalia Mako is a Masaai and a pastoralist in Tanzania. She works to connect grass roots and national level campaigns for pastoralists’ land rights. Much of her work is about empowering women to take the lead and claim what is rightfully theirs. Paine explains why women have been most active in their communities’ recent struggles for land...

Tanzania, large scale investment is increasing and this has a huge impact on pastoralists’ access to land. Most of the areas that investors are interested in (for conservation, wildlife management and hunting) happen to be pastoral areas. When investors come in, most of them go through the government and there is rarely appropriate communication with pastoral communities to let them know what is happening. There is a lot of friction between the investors and pastoralist communities because by the time the government and an investor have come to an agreement, pastoralists have not had any opportunity to participate in the decisions that affect them.

Increased restrictions cause increased livestock death and ultimately hunger amongst pastoralist communities. Land is a very important resource for pastoralists. As you know pastoralists are nomadic in nature. They move from one place to another in search of pasture to sustain their livestock. When you restrict them from moving, the sustainability of the livestock is also strained. They will not be able to survive for long in a restricted area once the dry season arrives. The land dries up and we have to move out and look for greener pastures and water for our animals. So, especially in the dry season, if there is no pasture or water, there will be no milk to take care of our children and our families.